By Zach Garrett (@zthaguru on Twitter)
Welcome back FCF fans to yet another installation of Game Rewinds. This week, we will be revisiting the exciting overtime game that was 8OKI vs. Beasts. Week 3 had banger after banger of matchups, but with this being an overtime game, and the drama that this game included, we couldn’t not cover it. So get your coffee, grab your bagel (or lunch or dinner or whatever) and let’s get into it, shall we?
April 30th, 2022 at Pullman Yards was Huncho Day and the stars were out, and I’m not talking about the solar system. Any football fan that attended Week 3 in person got to see countless amount of NFL, NBA, rap and entertainment stars take the field for the Legends charity flag football game. Players and atendees included Tyreek Hill, Matt James, Jameis Winston, Cam Newton, Quavo (duh), Robby Anderson, Druski, and so many more. Pullman was buzzing and fans and FCF players alike could feel that the energy was at a different level. Our players wanted to make sure these guys saw them ball out, and like I mentioned, every game in Week 3 was action packed and filled with crazy plays.
Both squads needed to set the tone for the day, and they delivered and then some. Rolling out for 8OKI was the usual stud, QB Mitch Kidd along with WR Joseph Boykin, WR Patrick Smith Jr., and RB Malcolm Ballard. This week, 8OKI fans went with the Heavy Hitters on defense and The Wall was assigned the task to protect Mitch Kidd. Sitting at 1-1, and coming off of a brutal loss to BAFC, 8OKI was looking to have a bounce back week against these Beasts.
Speaking of the Beasts, they were debuting their new QB, Alphonso Howard. Not much word had gotten around outside of camp about what he was about or how he looked in practice, but everyone was excited to see how he took on FCF football. On his wings were the star studded wide receiver duo in Jordus “Cheatcode” Smith and Jacoby Herring. Franchise player, RB Uncle Quinn Porter served as the team’s primary rushing option, but fans would soon realize the threat that Howard would pose on the ground. Beasts’ fans went with The Hitmen at D, and The Trenchmen would be holding down the fort for Howard. As usual, Rock Paper Scissors went down, and 8OKI would get things started as Huncho Day was off and on its way.
Another note: Week 3 was also the first week under the rule of new FCF Head Coach Shawn Liotta’s offensive scheme. Yet another wrinkle added to an already wild week as the defenses knew little to nothing about how any of Liotta’s newly installed offense would run. Mitch Kidd and 8OKI immediately took advantage off this and ran an RPO trick play as Kidd kept the ball and threw a delicate pass to a streaking Patrick Smith Jr. for an easy score for the game’s first points of the night. Just 2:21 had come off the clock, and after converting the 2 point (as 8OKI usually did) the Beasts had found themselves at a quick 8-0 deficit. Not an ideal way to start off a football game if you’re the Beasts. Very ideal for Kidd and the gang.
Alphonso Howard took the field for the first time and players and fans alike quickly realized what this QB was all about. He was a quick 1-2 read and then petal to the metal if he didn’t see anything open. Call me crazy, but a he had flashes of Lamar Jackson out there, a baby Lamar if you must. Trust me, you guys will see it soon. Howard did a good job of leading his new squad down the field, but it was all with his legs. Then, all of a sudden, like a literal bullet, he fired his first pass of the night (and FCF career) to Jacoby Herring to get the Beasts on the scoreboard. One failed 2 point conversion later and we had ourselves a game on our hands.
On the ensuing 8OKI drive, The Hitmen decided to turn it up a few and really start playing defense. It’s as if all they needed was the one drive to figure out the offense 8OKI and the fans were trying to run. On 4th and long from deep in 8OKI territory, DL Cameron Hall bull rushed his opponent and got to Mitch Kidd, forcing an early throw that quacked like a duck and was well short of his target. From a quick and easy score to being absolutely stuffed, 8OKI had fans confused on what just happened, but the Beasts were gearing up their offense as they took the field again.
Once again, Howard and the rest of the offense took the field, and again, drove the ball down the field at a methodical pace. Beast fans by now had figured out the RPO was by far the most effective way to run this offense, and with just 6:30 left to go in the 1st half, QB Howard threw a dime of a pass, but talk about threading the needle. Howard clearly had an ARM on him, and for the second time in as many drives, placed a pass as perfectly as you possibly could to Cheatcode for another TD. What followed was what I can only describe as a wiggly celebration that showed a flash of the great Michael Jackson. The Beasts were feeling themselves, and looked to be taking control of the game even if the 12 – 8 score didn’t show it.
The momentum had completely swung over to the Beasts’ side of the field, and frankly, you could see it in both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball on the ensuing drive. The Wall was not doing a great job of keeping The Hitmen D-line out of the back field. Mitch Kidd looked to be a little off throwing to his receivers. There was no running game to be seen out of Malcolm Ballard thus far. 8OKI was forced off the field for the 2nd straight possession, and they needed to figure out something fast if they wanted to stay in this game (hint: they will)
The DJ had Pullman bumping with music and it seemed that this Beasts offense was feeding off the energy around them. A couple passes here and a couple of runs there, and before you knew it, the Beasts were tapping on the door of the goal line ready to punch in their third score of the game. For once, probably to give himself a breather, Howard handed off the ball on an RPO from the 3 yard line to Quinn Porter who proceeded to run 40+ total yards, shedding off defenders and leaving ankles in his path on the way to the endzone. It was magical. Very Beastquake-esque if I do say so myself. Now things were really looking good for the Beasts, but so far, they were 0-3 on 2 point conversions. Still with a comfortable lead and with just 0:30 left to go in the 1st half, it wasn’t much of a thought at the time. Beasts 18 – 8OKI 8.
8OKI needed something to happen, and fast if they wanted a chance to stay in the game. They did indeed make something happen, and it was fast. A whole 18 seconds later, Kidd finally got enough time to step up in the pocket and throw to his favorite target, Joseph Boykin, for a 30 yard score. This had become a common occurence on gamedays, and boy they needed that connection. A successful 2 point conversion later, and this 16 – 18 game had turned on its head despite the feeling that the Beasts had had control of the game for a majority of the half. The teams headed into halftime both knowing what they had to do to win, but who would actually make it happen?
Thoughts had been collected. Motivation had been done. Both teams were ready to take the field again for the start of the 2nd half. The Beasts got to start with the ball, and as if he had never left the field, Alphonso Howard was taking off, high stepping and shifting his way down the field. He had a swag about him that reminded me of Francois a bit, and we know that guy is a leader. The Beasts had certainly found their QB, and just like that, their QB threw an easy pass to Jacoby Herring for his 3rd of the afternoon and 2nd for Herring. Chemistry was building in real-time, and 8OKI fans were shaking in their boots. A fourth straight failed 2 point conversion left the game still feeling in grasp, but it wasn’t going to be easy.
Mitch Kidd took the field for the first time in the 2nd half and 8OKI desperately needed some magic from him. As for The Hitmen, they looked to continue causing problems for him. The Beasts’ secondary was playing some next level football as they weren’t letting the 8OKI receivers have any room to maneuver. DB Styvis Latham alone had two touchdown saving PBUs. The offense was officially in trouble, and after not being able to get anything going, The Hitmen forced their 3rd turnover on downs of the night. With just under 2:00 left in the game, a clear picture of what *seemed* to be coming was painted, and 8OKI did not like the looks of it.
Looking to try and roll the clock down, Beasts fans shifted to the run to shed precious time off the clock. Cheatcode had other ideas. With superstars in attendance and a win in his grasp, Jordus Smith took his talents to the endzone on a 35 yard run. Three defenders tried to take him down, but were quite unsuccessful. The core weapons of the Beasts offense had seemingly done all they could to lock up this contest, and with 0:44 seconds left and up 32-16, not many would have disagreed.
But did we really forget about Mitch Kidd? Down but not out, 8OKI took the field and needed a spark to start something great. Greatness was coming. After a couple of short passes to move down the field, The Kidd fired a beautiful throw to Patrick Smith Jr. (his 2nd of the game) to give 8OKI a chance. Of course, they converted a massive 2 point conversion to keep the game at one possession, and just like that, the score was 24 – 32. They couldn’t, could they?
One of the coolest things about the FCF is the Comeback Rule. FCF’s version of the onside kick, a team must be down inside 5 minutes left to active the rule – a 4th and 10 from the 10 yard line. Convert and keep playing, fail and turn the ball over to the other team. A huge risk reward, but at this point, there was no other option for 8OKI. Needing just 10 yards, Kidd fired up a prayer to Boykin from his own endzone, and miraculously, Boykin came down with the ball, tight roped the sideline, and strutted the rest of the way for an 8OKI touchdown. Mouths across The Yard were agape. The 2 point conversion was successful YET AGAIN, and now, jaws were on the floor. Down 16 with 44 seconds to play to tied ball game with 11 seconds left seems impossible, yet here we were. Mitch Kidd continued to deliver, and the Beasts could do nothing but try and do what 8OKI had just done. After a couple of plays, the Beasts failed to reach the endzone and somehow, someway, this game, tied at 32, was headed to OVERTIME. This is why we love FCF.
Following the rules of NCAA Football, each team would get a 4 chances to score in overtime, but instead of the 25 yard line, FCF overtime would start from the 10. It was game on. Beasts started with the ball, and on 3rd and goal from the 5, Jordus Smith powered his way into the endzone for the first score in overtime. Advantage Beasts: 38-32.
8OKI proceeded to score as they had their previous two touchdowns, very quickly. On their first play, Malcolm Ballard bulldozed his way into the endzone for a 10 yard rush and tied things up yet again, 38 – 38. It was time for some double OT action.
8OKI started off the second overtime with the ball, and the fans had learned exactly what to do. They called the EXACT same play, and as one would expect, they got the EXACT same result. Malcolm Ballard had again marched his way into the endzone, and he was fired up. Kidd usually gets all the shine, but newly added Ballard had come in and single handedly given his team the lead when they needed it most. Advantage 8OKI: 44- 38.
If the Beasts wanted to stay in this game, they absolutely had to score. They had had their way all day, but the Heavy Hitters seemed inspired by the clutch play of their offensive teammates in OT. The first play was stifled by the D-line and Cheatcode found himself 4 yards back from where he started. The Beasts’ second play looked to be a touchdown run from QB Howard, but he had just been pushed out of bounds by the defender at the 7 yard line. 2 plays left. On third and goal, Howard tried to finish the job but still came up short of the endzone. The Beasts were down to their last play. Howard lined up at behind center and the fans had chosen a pass, but at this point, everyone in the building knew each play was an RPO. Howard took the snap and looked for an open receiver, but the Heavy Hitter secondary had placed everyone on lockdown. He scrambled around, even running into some bench players, before the 8OKI D-line got to him for a sack to end the game.
We had just seen a masterclass in the art of the comeback, and 8OKI had just achieved one for the 2nd time in 3 weeks. The Beasts had experienced all the emotions, but ended with bitterness and confusion at how they could let that game slip away. They would head into Week 4 with a 1-2 record and possibly with more questions than answers. As for Kidd and the rest of 8OKI, the football gods were on their side, and as long as they was still time on the clock, they had a chance to win.
Want to watch for yourself? Catch the condensed game below that includes all the best highlights from the game!